In the mom world, there are different groups of mom labels; most notably known are “Stay-at-Home” and “Working” moms. Under these big umbrellas, there is a less judged, but more confusing label of “Work-at-Home” moms. Do I work? Do I stay home? What do I do all day? How do I work and stay home? I fall under this confounding category and here are a few of my simple truths about my work status.
1.) I am not a salesman. I don’t work for a direct sales company.
I get asked a lot if I work from home selling different products. Many people know about different, fast-growing companies who offer moms flexible at-home careers that allow them to build their own business. What these people don’t know is that there are other jobs and careers that allow and provide work at home flex schedules.Currently, I work at a Fortune company; a typical full-time, 9-5, Monday-Friday, white-collar job as a writer and project manager. I started working in the office full-time and in the past few years transitioned my flex schedule to working from my home office most days of the week. I go in once a week (sometimes) for team meetings and various projects or conferences.
2.) I need childcare, every day.
The bulk of my job is writing, conference calls, and managing time, projects, and people. I work with people in different time zones and globally, so I have some flexibility in my hours, but for the most part I have a schedule. Have you tried to get anything done for yourself with a 3 year old and an infant? Yeah, no, doesn’t work, ever. At least not for me!
My 3 year old goes to part-time preschool three days a week. My mom is our primary care and watches our 9 month old. My in-laws also help watch the kids one day a week. We are so grateful for our parents’ help. Both D and my careers wouldn’t be able to survive without our village.
3.) Some days, some things don’t get done.
My biggest struggle as a work at home mom is feeling like I’m half-assing both of my roles. I’m at home, but working, so I can’t devote my time to actually being around my kids. I’m working, but I’m at home, so it’s hard not be distracted if I hear my baby cry or my kid scream from two rooms over. Don’t even get me started about the never ending pile of laundr(ies) and dirty dishes that need to be washed.
I try my best to keep a schedule and take a break for lunch and align my ‘home’ tasks like doing a load of laundry or school pick-up to those “break” hours, but sometimes it’s all a big mish mash of tasks and time. Sometimes work gets done after the boys are asleep. Sometimes dirty dishes sit in the sink overnight. I know I’m only one person, so I try to give myself some grace some nights.
4.) It’s okay to want adult conversation.
I try to go into the office once a week. Honestly, sometimes I just need to be out of the house and away from my kids. I need to network at work and I enjoy adult conversation with my colleagues. Sure, I have my mom and sometimes D around at home, but usually our conversation revolves around the kids and house chores. Most of my day is spent alone in our office/den and it can be isolating at times. It really is nice to be able to have an office day to talk about adult things and have the camaraderie grow with my professional network.
5.) My days are different, every day.
As a self-diagnosed OCD A-type first-born and stubborn female, I tend to do better with schedules. The biggest lesson and blessing from my work at home status is that I’ve learned to be more flexible. My job allows me to be at my kids’ doctor appointments or to take off if I need to pick up a sick kid from school. It lets me take an unscheduled afternoon off. Sometimes that means working at night and on the weekend. The nature of my job as a project manager and consultant is that my work week is different every day. I’m working with different clients against different timelines. And then throw any house/kid occurrence into the mix? Yeah, it keeps things lively, that’s for sure.
I’ve been doing this work at home mom gig for the last three years and it works for our family. I feel blessed both for my company and bosses that are very supportive and promote a healthy work/life balance. A lot of factors play into how or why this works for me and family. While it isn’t perfect every day, I really do feel like I get to enjoy the best of both worlds. And for that, I am grateful.
Any work at home moms out there? What is your work status? How do you find the balance in your life?